"But everyone else does it!" | INFJ Forum

"But everyone else does it!"

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by TinyBubbles, May 1, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    You know how when people are accused of something, they sometimes automatically point out how others are doing the same thing, implying that their actions are not as bad by contrast? Is this done as a defense mechanism, to preserve their notion that they are not bad people - or at least, not as bad as others in similar situations?

    For example, imagine an office worker being caught stealing supplies by a co-worker. The co-worker accuses him of being a thief, but the office worker protests "what's the harm? Everyone else does it! And don't tell me YOU'VE never done it."
    "I never have."
    "Yeah right."
    See what's happening here? The office worker is homogenizing his beliefs with the general (office) populations' - his peers, and additionally tries to bring the moral standards of the co-worker who caught him down to his level; something like in the diagram below:

    [​IMG]

    The RED line would be the moral standards of the office worker and co-worker from the point of view of the co-worker- his is positive ("I never have.") and the office worker's, from the co-worker's point of view, would be negative. The GREEN lines would be where the office worker is trying to bring them to - so there is not a divide, so the two men are as good (or bad, or neutral) as each other.



    I think maybe people do this as a defense mechanism, to preserve their innate beliefs about themselves. If the office worker believed that he was actually a bad person, and that everyone else DIDN'T steal supplies as he had, there would be a discord between his actions and his beliefs, causing internal struggle and a lack of satisfaction -- something would have to change to maintain psychological balance.

    I dunno, just a thought. What do you think?
     
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  2. Siamese cat

    Siamese cat Madame Cat strikes again

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    I believe that's called the rationalization defense mechanism, but I might be wrong. So, yes, I agree with you, it is a defense mechanism, I'm just not sure of the name of it.
     
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    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    cool, thanks SC, I will look that up.
     
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